Vol. 3    No. 18
September 4, 2008

Stories & Columns

Trends in Madison Metropolitan
School District funding/Looking
for respite to plan,
by Jonathan Gramling

Democratic nominee Barack
Obama in Milwaukee,
by Jonathan Gramling

Third Anniversary of Hurricane
Katrina/Recovery and then ...
by Jonathan Gramling

Asian Wisconzine: PAMANA's
Philippine Independence Day,
by Heidi M. Pascual

Simple Things/ "Coloring inside
the lines,"
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

Politicas de hoy/Denverdems,
Obama & Biden la mejor opcion,
por Alfonso Zepeda-Capistran

Madison Superintendent Dan
Nerad/Community-school organizer
(Part 2),
by Jonathan Gramling

WWOCN Women of Color
by Heidi M. Pascual

Centerspread/ 2008 Democratic
National Convention: UNITED WE
by Jonathan Gramling

10th Annual Latino Health Fair:
Promoting health through
by Jonathan Gramling

China Dispatch/More anecdotes
about foreigners in China: Of girls
and boys,
by Andrew Gramling

CSW 2008 Annual Awards: Social
activists in our midst,
From Community Shares of

A new era of Affirmative Action at
UW-Madison (Part 2),
by Jonathan Gramling

2008 Madison World Music
Festival/Irrepressible jazz,
by Jonathan Gramling

2008 UW Diversity Forum,
Integrating HWCUs (Part 1),
by Jonathan Gramling

Editorial Staff
Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Paul Barrows
Fabu Carter-Brisco
Andrew Gramling
Lang Kenneth Haynes
Heidi M. Pascual
Laura Salinger
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran

©2008 The Capital City Hues
   Like most of the rest of America, I had to scramble to do a little research on Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, who was
the surprise pick last Friday of Sen. John McCain as his vice presidential running mate for the Republican Party.
Palin, to the best of my knowledge, had never appeared on the political pundit prognostication list for the
Republican vice president candidate. According to the pundits, Mitt Romney was the leading candidate for the nod,
but he obviously faded at the finish line.
   Palin has been the governor of Alaska — a state with a population of approximately 670,000 people, the
approximate size of the combined populations of Waukesha and Milwaukee and awash in oil money — for the past
20 months. Before that, Pail had been the mayor of Wasilla, AK — a village or city of 8,700 people, which is half the
size of Middleton — for about six years. Her foreign policy experience is basically a visit to the Alaskan National
Guard in Kuwait and Iraq.
   Like most of the rest of America, I have been wondering why John McCain selected Sarah Palin to be his running
mate. I don’t think Alaska has ever gone for a Democrat in a presidential election and it doesn’t appear that it is in
danger of becoming a Blue state anytime soon. So McCain didn’t select Palin for Alaska’s electoral votes.
   Now McCain selected Palin on Thursday, the day that Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination.
McCain talked to Palin in person once and talked to her on the phone another time. It sure does seem that McCain
was keeping a close eye on the Democratic Convention and when the Democrats didn’t implode in an Obama-
Clinton fireball and the Democratic Party was picking up steam and reveling in the historical nature of Obama’s
selection, McCain must have figured that he had to do something about it.
   Hillary Clinton’s Wednesday night speech when she threw her support squarely behind Barack Obama didn’t create
the kind of seam in the women’s vote that McCain probably had hoped for. If Clinton had hinted that she wasn’t
excited about Obama — much like Ted Kennedy did to Jimmy Carter in 1980 — I’m sure that McCain could have
picked someone like Mitt Romney, a tried and true conservative. But with the Democrats unified, McCain had to
figure out another way to peel off at least 10 percent of the women’s vote to get elected. Otherwise his candidacy
was probably dead in the water.
   And so, McCain reached way back in the deck and pulled out Palin as his kind of wild card. After all, he didn’t
spend a lot of resources on vetting Palin. He just knew he had to do something dramatic.
Palin is very conservative, have no doubts about it. She passes muster with the conservative wing of the Republican
Party. She is anti-choice and very much a pro-capitalist, laissez faire free market kind of person.
But Palin is a self-described “soccer mom” and a former beauty queen who bills herself as a reformer and change
candidate — didn’t George W. Bush say he was a change agent in 2000? She is an attractive and articulate
candidate and in the frontier environment of Alaska, I am sure she is hard as nails to boot. She may be just what
McCain needs to peel away enough of the women vote to get elected.
   When I think about Palin, I can’t help think back to 1991 and Clarence Thomas. President George H.W. Bush
nominated Thomas, an arch-conservative African American to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by
Thurgood Marshall. On a theoretical basis, Thomas was the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream because he was the
complete opposite of Marshall. On a practical basis, Thomas believed in policies and a philosophy that was
anathema to the civil rights movement and affirmative action and worked against the interests of the vast majority of
African Americans. Thomas had served as a judge for one year on the U.S. Court of Appeals before he was named to
the U.S. Supreme Court. To support Thomas was to support the negation of the gains made by Dr. King and others. It
was quite a quandary that somewhat divided the African American community. In the end, Thomas’ nomination
created just the seam that was needed to get him through a tough vote in the U.S. Senate, 52-48.
And so, I can’t help but feel that Palin is the women’s movement’s Clarence Thomas. Her experience isn’t very long
and she has been catapulted onto the national stage just at the time when McCain needs that seam to win a tight
   And the women’s movement is faced with a quandary. Do they support Palin on a theoretical basis because she
would become the first woman to hold the vice presidency? Or do they look at the practical basis of Palin and see
that she is anti-choice and may support policies that would be detrimental to the vast majority of women? It is a
choice that many women face. I hope they have learned from history so that history does not repeat itself. The future
of the women’s movement — and the future of many of us — hangs in the balance.
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                Palin a Clarence Thomas?